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From the archive: June 2005 Review
There have not been very many new cat stamps so far in 2005, but the ones that have appeared have been attractive. In this review we'll briefly catch up also on some newly discovered stamps with cats from the past few years.
One of the first issues of this year, in February, was from Brazil and commemorates the birth centenary of the psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, born in Maceló, north-eastern Brazil, in 1905. She brought a number of revolutionary ideas to her chosen field, including enabling former psychiatric patients to express their ideas through the medium of art, and encouraging them to relate to animals such as cats. She was a cat lover herself, and the stamp shows her contemplating a tabby cat on the opposite side of the stamp. Nise died in 1999. I am very grateful to Sandra Malacrida of São Paolo for bringing this stamp to my attention and being kind enough to send me examples.
Also in February, Hungary issued a very pleasant miniature sheet of four cat heads as 'youth stamps'. Each one includes also a small cat silhouette; this is a lovely set, and I believe there is also an excellent first-day cover that I have not yet seen.
April 2005 saw the Netherlands, a frequent cat-stamp issuer, releasing a group of stamps and labels, a number of which include cats. The stamps themselves show children in what look like Victorian times, while the labels show children in twenty-first-century dress. All the stamps except one include a black-and-white cat, and also two of the labels show its head. The issue consists of three stamps and six labels in each of two miniature sheets; the upper labels in each group contain texts and the lower ones are pictorial. The whole issue is in aid of the Dutch National Elderly Aid Fund and the illustrations and texts are from a book. We are illustrating one stamp and two labels, together comprising one of the six vertical strips in the MSs.
Remaining in Europe, Austria began producing personalised stamps in 2004 with some sporting designs, including an Olympic Games medal winner. This year half a dozen new designs have been released; one portrays the new Pope Benedict XVI (who, incidentally, is said to be a cat lover), one is an 'Easter bunny' (actually an 'Osterhase', or Easter hare, in that part of the world), and one is the handsome long-haired white cat in our picture. The stamps come in sheets of 20, each one having a label for a personalised photo above, below or beside it depending on the position in the sheet.
We have mentioned previously some stamps issued for the 25th anniversary of the death of the much loved American artist Norman Rockwell. Two further issues from 2004 on this theme included small cats. The MS from the West Indian island nation of Nevis, in the picture entitled Is he coming?, has a black-and-white cat in the right lower corner; and from The Gambia there was a sheetlet of four including First Illustration, from 1937. A little tabby cat is to be seen in the background (centre left of the stamp).
From December 2004 came an interesting sheetlet of six stamps issued by Tajikistan and illustrating scenes from the Dushanbe Circus (Dushanbe being the capital city of this Central Asian country). As well as acrobats, riders and an elephant, the stamps include a magician producing a kitten (rather than a genie!) out of a lamp. The sheetlet margin has silhouettes of seals and horses.
I don't usually mention illegal or bogus stamps, but sometimes it's hard to know which are genuine ones and which are bogus. Two colourful and slightly unusual sheetlets were produced in 2004 bearing the names of Madagascar and the Republic of Congo. The Madagascar one featured Cats and Mushrooms can you see a connection between the two? Slightly more feasible is Cats and Butterflies from the Congo; very pretty stamps, but neither the cats nor the butterflies are identified and what on Earth is Lord Baden-Powell doing there?
To briefly mention the stamps from earlier years I had not come across before: back in 1997 Kazakhstan issued three stamps of modern Kazakh art; one, called Fantastic Still Life, includes a ginger cat.
The year 2000 was when the famous racing-car driver Mario Andretti turned 60 years of age and to mark this occasion, and his career, Sierra Leone came up with a sheetlet of 8 stamps and an MS. In the margin of the sheetlet is a delightful family portrait in which one of his young sons is holding a beautiful, traditional Siamese cat, and I think there's at least one other cat on the chair with him.
The Pokémon craze of a few years ago seems to have died down, but there were some stamps. From St Vincent came a sheetlet of 6 stamps for Christmas 2001 that showed the cat-like figure 'Meowth' (Pokémon #52, for those in the know) on both the MS and the sheetlet margin. Earlier in the same year Grenada produced a similar set, this time showing #53 'Persian' on its sheetlet of six.
Finally this time, Spain issued a large sheet containing self-adhesives, and a number of miniature sheets, for the 'Espana 2002' world stamp exhibition which took place in Salamanca in November that year. On one stamp and one MS is another tiny cat, this one in front of a TV screen.
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Our featured feline Chico (see head of the page) belonged to a lady in the Swiss village of Chesières who lived near the ground-floor office where I worked in the mid-1980s. Every so often he liked to pass by, spend a little time with us and check we were doing everything properly.
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